WHITNEY: There is no break from parenting

If you've turned to this page expecting a horror story this week, I'm about to disappoint you.

Last week, I left a letter here for my sister, who was brave enough to take on the challenge of babysitting for our first night away from Olivia. Things went fantastically well, minus a little crying jag from 2 to 5 a.m. No big deal to me, happens all the time. Little sister — a cosmetologist who is rarely seen in anything less than full makeup and perfect hair — was looking a little bit more "mom chic" when we returned Sunday, but she assured us she and her niece had a brilliant time reading books, dancing and, apparently, throwing food-loaded spoons across the kitchen. What mom doesn't know won't hurt her, I guess?

More surprising to me than Olivia's successful first night without us was our inability to spend spend a night without her on our minds.

We talked about her new developments, her latest dance moves and peculiar phrases as we drove to our destination. We perused a few kids shops and bought her a little wooden stegosaurus, pretty much the only purchase of the trip. We paused a time or two to watch a Vine video of her eating markers (a moment I documented before realizing not all Crayolas are washable).

We sat next to a family in a restaurant whose 2-year-old wouldn't stop shouting the lyrics to "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen, and instead of being annoyed, we sympathized. "If our little one was here, she'd be doing the same thing," we told the parents, who had an older son, too, and knew enough by now to laugh while dodging the glares of other childless diners. I wish I had their gumption to glare back a few months back during what can only be referred to as The Bone Marrow Plate Day.

Following our trip, I talked to a friend about his recent promotion to a management position, a goal he had striven to achieve for some 10 odd years only to quickly realize that the position, well, kinda sucks. Someone always wants help, usually to solve the same problem he solved for them the day before. He is needed constantly, he says, and wants only to shut off all communication with the world once he falls onto his couch after his shift. He welcomes a slice of silence at the end of the day.

God, isn't that the truth of parenting, I thought to myself before realizing that I had kind of spent my "weekend away" back home, in my mind at least.

It's hard to divorce yourself from your role as a parent, even when you've carved out time explicitly for that purpose, as I did last weekend. You make a habit of catering to your kids' needs, so much so that you kind of fail to recognize your own. I needed a getaway and I don't know if I can say I managed to take full advantage of the opportunity in front of me.

Unlike my or my friend's jobs, which both involved managing and engaging with people on a daily basis, I can't turn off parenting mode once I leave the house. We're ceaselessly engaged with our child, because that's the whole of the job.

It's a problem that starts in those early months, where you're trying desperately to make sure this nascent being just stays alive, when your inner monologue runs along the lines of "OMG, if I do X, will that make the baby die? The internet say that could make them die!" Once you've move past the everything-could-kill-your-baby stage though, you kind of don't recover. You worry even when she's in the most caring and capable hands.

Maybe in another few months with a bit more practice, I'll be able to turn off the mom portion of my brain for a weekend away. For me for now, though, there's no falling onto the couch to savor a slice of silence at the end of the day, even 70 miles away from home.